As a young mixed race female, I grew up with the love of horror laced into my DNA. It has shaped me as a person, beautifully connected me to some amazing humans, and helped me to see the world in so many layered ways. One of the most impacting moments I had in my horror education was being introduced to Jeryline, played by Jada Pinkett Smith in Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight. I had never really seen a Final Girl played with such strength, such beauty and such determination before. To me she represented a world of opportunity within the horror genre. She was someone who wasn’t a best friend, there wasn’t an in your face use of her body to move the story forward, she wasn’t just an object to behold, she was a force to be reckoned with.
I have waited a long time for another woman of color and movie like that to walk into my horror life and demand my attention. SHE NEVER DIED is that movie. If all I had to do was watch Olunike Adeliyi’s body language, her facial expressions, the way in which she shows but doesn’t tell during the movie, that alone would have been enough for me to be satisfied. She is a powerhouse, and gives a truly outstanding performance of her character Lacy.
SHE NEVER DIED is written by Jason Krawczyk and directed by Audrey Cummings and follows Detective Godfrey, played by Peter MacNeill, who is a somewhat jaded detective on the search for a killer who is removing the fingers of their victims. Staking out a local spot he sees what he assumes is a homeless woman, with a strength that should only come with the help of some mechanical aid, rip open the door to the building he’s watching and, without a care, walks right inside. This is our first look at Lacey played by Olunike Adeliyi.
Fists up and Fros out to the Casting Department, to Director Audrey Cummings and writer Jason Krawczyk for not only creating and casting Olunike Adeliyi but also for creating dynamic female characters throughout this entire film. Kiana Madeira plays Suzzie, who becomes a reluctant heroine in her own right. She’s a beautiful mix of this quirky ball of nerves and street smart. There was a lovely chemistry that she injected into any scene that she was a part of.
The entire film is woven together with other strong female characters such as Michelle Nolden, who plays Meredith, sister to Noah Dalton Danby who plays Terrence. Together they run an operation dealing with Human Trafficking and Dark Web entertainment. Michelle, brings a real strength and class to the character, you almost want her to get away with it all just to see her matched against our heroine Lacey and her crew again. It’s hard to watch SHE NEVER DIED without wanting more of these characters. Throughout the movie, it felt as if I was watching the birth of a new superhero. Which in this Age of Marvel rebooting the same stories every year, there was an excitement in me to see a new story, a new villain and a new kick ass woman of color on the block.
The only issues I had, were at times the music seemed to pull you out of the action, kind of hitting on a bit of a campy 80’s vibe. Now I have no problem with the 80’s or camp. I love both of them, but it’s seemed to miss the mark at moments.
The action and choreography are outstanding, Michelle and Olunike’s fight scene on the rooftop were staged incredibly well and showcased just how strong each of these characters were. It was really incredible to watch the movie, like a rollercoaster, position itself to come to this really amazing climax. There’s also this beautiful tenderness between the family unit of Detective Godfrey and Lacey that was really great to watch unfold throughout the course of the film.
Audrey Cummings, please adapt this for a Television Series because I am already on my couch ready to watch. Do not sleep on your opportunity to watch SHE NEVER DIED, it’s an amazing film that features a female heroine we have not only been waiting for but also deserve.